Sunday, March 22, 2009

As hard as it may be to believe we actually forgot our camera this morning, so these iphone photos will have to do.

Well there’s nothing like a good butt kickin’ to get the season started! Earlier this week, I decided to register for a low key triathlon in Carefree Arizona (just North of Scottsdale). We didn’t know anything about the course or anyone else participating, but we figured an Oly distance race would be a great way to kick off our escape to the Valley of the Sun. We arrived Saturday night, but thankfully with the two hr time change, it didn’t hurt too badly when the alarm rang at 4:45. We didn’t bring our race gear, and opted for the simple approach of using our old training bikes/wheels that we leave at the condo.

This made it much easier to get everything ready to go. This race was just about getting out and testing ourselves… Well there was no shortage of that. WOW, is all I can say to describe the incredible race course. I had no clue what was in store but the drive into the Bartlett Lake Reservoir was a good indication that it was going to ONE CHALLENGING Day!

The water felt very chilly when I first hopped in to warm up, but luckily once the gun sounded, it was very comfortable. With perfectly clear open water and nobody around me, I really enjoyed the swim. I came out of the water 3rd OA with the men and quickly shuffled through transition. I jumped on my bike and started climbing….and kept climbing!! The climbing pretty much lasted for the first 5 miles, then a slight break, then 5 more miles of climbing. I was averaging well over 250 Watts, but that was translating into a meager 9mph . I recall a slight break in the slope, seeing 12mph, and I truly felt like I was cruising!! I can’t tell you how many times I wished I had my zipp 303’s strapped on for the ride. It was basically up or down. I was either riding 39-23 (could have also used a more forgiving cassette today), or 53-12 gearing. Those middle gears were not touched today.

Pro triathlete Angi Axmann went by me at about mile 13 on the bike. I tried to stay with her on the climb, and did a decent job initially, but it really didn’t take her very long to get well out of sight. I kept working hard doing everything I could to maintain a good margin over 3rd place. Despite the challenging course, I really did have a great time out there on the bike. I love climbing, and figured this training will prove valuable when we attack Mt Lemmon next week.

I finally arrived into t2, and was honestly scared to start the run. I’ve been challenged with my running this spring, and this course would have NO sympathy on me. This sign did not help my inner desire to stop!! Once again, it was straight up for the first 1.5 miles. I didn’t even feel like I was moving, but kept reminding myself that it’s tough for everyone so just keep going. The next 1.5 miles were straight down before the turnaround. Of course with each downhill stride towards the turnaround, I could only think about climbing back up. I think I was in 10th OA with the men at the turnaround, so I tried to hold that position. It was a brutal climb, but I knew that once I hit the 4.7 mile mark, it was all downhill to the finish. Unfortunately another guy passed me and I dropped to 11th OA as we crested the final climb. My finish time was 2:41 (which is a good 30 min slower than my standard Oly time), and I ended up 2nd among the women. I think I was a good 9 minutes behind Angi, but in general I’m pleased with my overall effort. I have a lot of work to do to get ready for the season, but I’m looking forward to it.

It was great to have Kerry out there racing with me today, and there was no shortage of R & R afterwards.

…Back to the grind tomorrow. I’ll be working in the downtown Phoenix office for the next two weeks, but hopefully, I can still find time to get out a enjoy this amazing weather.